ANTHONY WATSON: Denver ethnic studies curriculum teaches high schoolers to 'dismantle systems of power'

Public schools in Denver, Colorado reportedly mandate an “ethnic studies” course for ninth graders which teaches students that gender exists on a “spectrum” and to “dismantle systems of power.”

Parents Defending Education (PDE) obtained copies of the course curriculum which explicitly tells students to “learn about collectivist values from Indigenous Plant Teachings,” “explore different representations of of the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl as a sacred story and symbol,” and rewrite their opinions regarding the “American Dream and the Self-Made Man” from a collectivist viewpoint.

One lesson centers around “Building a Collectivist Society” and challenges students to apply “indigenous ways of knowledge to individualist concepts like the American Dream.” The lesson additionally claims that individualist ideas such as this can produce “loneliness” and “selfishness.” The lesson plan separates the modern West and “individualist” world from other countries globally.

A separate lesson titled “Art as a Pathway to Consciousness” students are asked to “explore the origins of the term anti-racist through a quote by Angela Davis and an interview with Ibram Kendi.” Davis, a radical activist often referred to as a “Marxist,” was wanted by the FBI in connection to a kidnapping and murder. Davis was quoted in the lesson stating, “In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist; we must be anti-racist.” Students are also asked to define “anti-racism” later in the course.

PDE additionally described Ibram X. Kendi as a “well known political activist who pushes for schools to adopt racial equity into their curricula.” Kendi has claimed in the past that “whiteness prevents white people from connecting with humanity.” His Center for Antiracist Research (CAR) at Boston University additionally fell under scrutiny after being accused of wasting millions of dollars.

Throughout the lesson, students are asked to analyze race “as a social construct,” build a “consciousness of racial bias,” and consider their personal “role in advancing racial equity and healing.”

“Beyond the Binary,” another lesson featured in the course, teaches students about “gender diverse cultures around the world” and “gender fluid cultures,” as well as the “rise in anti-trans policies” around the U.S.

Educators are encouraged to facilitate discussion by asking students how they can “build a society that celebrates and embraces the fluidity of gender and sexuality, creating open spaces where all individuals can express themselves authentically and be fully accepted?” Students are told to discuss ways to build “consciousness and understanding” of “different identities and points of view.”

PDE found that in a separate lesson titled “Systemic Change” students learn how “social movements use systemic change as a framework to build collaboration and advocate for transformative change in society,” using a source from the Black Panther Party’s “Ten-Point Program” to demonstrate “radical imagination and systemic change.”

This piece first appeared at TPUSA.


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